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Russia for constant contacts with Hamas leaders

UN, May 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is for constant contacts with Palestinian radical Islamic group Hamas, and is against its isolation, the Russian foreign minister said Tuesday.

"For Hamas to realize its political responsibility, [we] should constantly work with it, [because] isolation is a way into a deadlock," Sergei Lavrov told journalists after the first part of a Middle East Quartet session in the UN.

Hamas had claimed responsibility in the past for a number of terrorist acts in the region, and is on the list of terrorist organizations both in Europe and the United States. Russia does not classify it as a terrorist group, however, and was the first country to invite its delegation to talks in March, a move that one Israeli politician called a "stab in the back".

Lavrov said last month it would be wrong to halt aid to the Palestinian National Authority because of Hamas' dominance of its new government, in an apparent reference to the EU's decision to freeze its aid to the PNA indefinitely.

The Middle East Quartet comprises Russia, the EU, the U.S. and the UN.

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